Discourses of Children’s Literature in Canada
Hardcover 308 pp.
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The essays in Home Words explore the complexity of the idea of home through various theoretical lenses and groupings of texts. One focus of this collection is the relation between the discourses of nation, which often represent the nation as home, and the discourses of home in children’s literature, which variously picture home as a dwelling, family, town or region, psychological comfort, and a place to start from and return to. These essays consider the myriad ways in which discourses of home underwrite both children’s and national literatures.
Home Words reconfigures the field of Canadian children’s literature as it is usually represented by setting the study of English- and French-language texts side by side, and by paying sustained attention to the diversity of work by Canadian writers for children, including both Aboriginal peoples and racialized Canadians. It builds on the literary histories, bibliographical essays, and biographical criticism that have dominated the scholarship to date and sets out to determine and establish new directions for the study of Canadian children’s literature.
Mavis Reimer is Canada Research Chair in the Culture of Childhood, director of the Centre for Research in Young People’s Texts and Cultures, and an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Winnipeg. She is co-author with Perry Nodelman of the third edition of The Pleasures of Children’s Literature and editor of a collection of essays on Anne of Green Gables, entitled Such a Simple Little Tale.
“[A] refreshingly new insight into Canadian children’s literature. By focussing on texts which the general reader is less likely to have read, and providing rich glosses that enable the uninformed reader to follow the argument even when s/he has not read the primary text, the collection contributes to a rewriting of the Canadian ‘home.’... In doing so, they open the doors for others to engage with additional aspects of home in Canadian literature, and also to begin the larger study of home in other national literatures.”
— Lydia Kokkola, University of Turku, Finland, International Research Society for Children’s Literature
“Grounded in postcolonial theory, which is deployed in an insightful, accessible manner, these essays explore issues of exile, immigration, homelessness, land use, and the impact of imperialism. Coverage includes picture books, Robinsonades, books by and about aboriginals in both Canada and Australia, and Québécois literature for children (two chapters are in French).... The essays are uniformly astute and well researched; the illustrations (many in colour), index, bibliography are excellent. A fine volume for those interested in children’s literature, Canadian literature, and postcolonialism.... Highly recommended.”
— E.R. Baer, Gustavus Adolphus College, CHOICE
“This outstanding collection of essays, part of the Studies in Childhood and Family in Canada series published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press since 1999, ably demonstrates the ways in which the field of Canadian children’s literature has evolved in leaps and bounds since the publication of earlier foundational studies such as Sheila Egoff’s The Republic of Childhood in 1967, Judith Saltman’s Modern Canadian Children’s Books in 1987, and Elizabeth Waterston’s Children’s Literature in Canada in 1992.... In both what it accomplishes and what it leave open for future researchers, Home Words has become the latest foundational study in a dynamic and interdisciplinary field—both book and field are highly recommended.”
— Benjamin Lefebvre, Canadian Literature
“Complete with history, bibliographies, essays, and biographical criticism, Home Words: Discourses of Children’s Literature in Canada is a top pick for community library literary criticism collections.”
— The Midwest Book Review